For employers, connecting with student job seekers has always presented certain challenges, but in the face of the changing job market and recent trends in recruitment tactics, employers have had to become increasingly more strategic in their recruitment efforts. Earlier this year, Commerce, Management, and CRMBA students were surveyed regarding employer recruitment and engagement at Dalhousie. The results were compiled by Lori Bauld and Ally Howard from Management Career Services and presented during the National CACEE conference in May 2014. By examining some of the recent trends and surveying students and employers, Ally and Lori’s presentation shed light on how the student recruitment process is changing and what employers have to do to effectively interact with students at Dalhousie. Here are the top 5 highlights from the presentation that are of most interest to employers:
The Impact of Social Media & Mobile Technology
It is no surprise that social media activity has been booming in recent years and has no signs of slowing down. Students in particular are very involved with social media and have begun using various social media platforms to discover job opportunities online. Another significant trend is the increasing rate of mobile job searching among students. It’s safe to say that every student interacts with some sort of mobile device on a daily basis. Recruiters have recognized the power of social media and mobile as a means of candidate screening, organizational branding, and recruitment and are capitalizing on it:
- LinkedIn is the #1 recruitment social media platform of choice that currently has 300 million users (steadily growing) and 1.4 million daily job views.
- Facebook and Twitter serve as strong platforms to generate employee brand awareness and are rated as the #2 and #3 social recruitment platforms respectively (Jobvite, 2013).
- In 2013 an impressive 78% of recruiters hired through social media platforms. That percentage is up 20% from 2010 and is increasing every year (Jobvite, 2013)
- With 7 out of 10 job seekers now using mobile devices to find jobs, those employers who do have mobile enabled sites will attract more attention from students (ADP, 2013).
The following graphic (as seen in the MCS 2013 Annual Report Card) shows where Dalhousie’s Commerce, Management, and CRMBA students were placed for their work terms or internships in 2013:
Note that although Dalhousie’s student attend school in Nova Scotia, many of them choose to complete their work terms or internships outside of the province, and over 50% of them are not originally from Nova Scotia. Therefor, employers can broaden the scope of their Dalhousie recruitment efforts to not only include regionally based jobs, but national and international opportunities as well.
As a recruiter, it is important to develop an appropriate recruitment strategy that appeals to the student demographic that you are targeting. Our recent survey shows that Dalhousie students in Commerce, Management, and MBA differ in how they engage with employers on campus:
- Commerce students exhibit their highest level of engagement with employers during information sessions and networking events.
- Management students exhibit their highest level of engagement with employers through corporate tours and professional workshops
- MBA students exhibit their highest level of engagement with employer guest speakers and during networking events
When asked which organizational traits Dalhousie Commerce, Management, and CRMBA students valued the most, their responses were again quite different and interesting:
- Commerce student value continuous learning and advancement the most.
- Management student value work/life balance and continuous the most
- MBA students value salary and advancement the most
This information helps employers to identify which types of events and traits they should focus on when trying to recruit students from specific programs.
Aside from social media recruitment and establishing a strong online presence, it is also very valuable for employers to have a strong personal presence with Dalhousie students and connect with them through multiple touch points. Larger companies like banks and accounting firms have the funding and the capacity to engage with students on campus as well as virtually and create that connection that students appreciate. However, for companies without access to those resources, it can be difficult to achieve the same level of student connection.
Developing a strong social media and online presence can help smaller companies build their brand and virtually connect with students, but to consistently engage with students Ally and Lori recommend an Integrated Talent Attraction Strategy should be implemented to connect with students. This means that in addition to having a virtual presence, companies should be active on campus and participate in student engagement activities such as career development workshops or corporate tours.
Ultimately, the more touch points a company has with Dalhousie students, the more effective their recruitment efforts will be.
Student & Employer Testimonials
As part of their research, Lori and Ally also interviewed a Dalhousie student and two Dalhousie employer stakeholders. Follow the links to hear what they have to say about the employer/student interaction and recruitment process at Dalhousie and get their thoughts on how effective an Integrated Talent Attraction Strategy can be to recruitment initiatives.